Holiday Season Travel Tips for Drivers, Fliers and Commuters

December 21, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
U.S. Airlines reported that fewer people will be flying this holiday season, but flights will still be crowded.
Airlines for America predicted that about 43.3 million travelers will fly on U.S. carriers over the three-week holiday period, which is a 1 percent decline from last year. That works out to about 20,000 fewer people per day. “The trade group attributes the decline to lingering economic concerns and high energy prices that are limiting would-be travelers’ disposable income.”
About 1.6 million to 2.3 million people are projected to fly each day between December 21st and the first week of January.

Whether you’re traveling by air or by land, make sure to check out these tips from IB Traveler before you head out to maximize holiday travel happiness and minimize coal-in-the-stocking grief.

Know When to Travel – AAA estimates that 91 percent of holiday travelers will use the nation’s roadways. If you can avoid traveling at peak times, you’ll have a more enjoyable trip.
Check Road Conditions – If you are traveling in a cold or mountainous region, make sure to check the road conditions before you head out. Forecasters warn travel conditions across much of the West and Midwest will be “dangerous, if not impossible” Wednesday and Thursday due to blizzard conditions. Make sure to check conditions before you hit the road.
Know what to Pack – If you’re stuck in traffic on the highway in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to want to have some drinks and snacks on hand to hold you over. In addition to snacks, make a point of packing for automotive emergencies. Make sure your car has a flashlight, blankets, a car cellphone charger, a can of aerosol tire repair, duct tape, and motor oil … just in case.
Check Gas Prices – According to the Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday, the average price of gasoline is $3.24 per gallon, slightly higher than last year. Check AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report or the Web site Gas Buddy to find the best spots to fuel up and save.
Rest Up – Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep the night before a long trip. Fatigue decreases reaction time and awareness. The last thing you need on your holiday is an accident.
Tips for the Air
Travel Light – Traveling light will save you time and money, especially with increasingly hefty checked-bag fees.
Print out your Boarding Pass: Get this done at home before you leave and head straight to security when you get to the airport. Also, make sure your name is spelled correctly on the itinerary before it becomes a problem with security.
Check for Delays – Before you head to the airport, double-check for flight delays. You can also sign up through an airline’s Web site for flight-delay alerts. Similarly, have a number for your airline handy in case of flight cancellations.
Don’t Wrap Gifts – TSA urges travelers not to wrap gifts until they’ve arrived at their destination. Furthermore, food items such as salsas, jams, sauces, syrups and dips will not be allowed through the checkpoint unless they are in containers three ounces or less and in your one quart zip-top bag.
Get to the Airport Early – Allow at least two hours for check-in and security lines, even for short domestic flights.
Don’t Forget Your ID – Any passenger 18 and older will need a federal or state-issued photo ID at airport checkpoints. All passengers traveling internationally will need their passport. Forgetting an ID or passport can make or break your trip.
Free Wi-Fi – Skype is offering a gift for all holiday travelers: Free Wi-Fi. From Dec. 21-27, travelers passing through over 50 airports across the country will be able to access third-party hotspots using Skype Wi-Fi and connect with loved ones via Skype video or voice calls for free.
Don’t Stress – Relax, it’s the holidays! Consider splurging on a day pass to an airline lounge for nice seats, tasty drinks, and less crowds.
Tips for Mass Transportation
Check for delays – It’s important to watch the local news for mass transit closings and delays. 
View the Weather Report – Be sure to watch the local weather channel for a full 48 weather forecast. It is easiest to plan a head when you know what to expect.
Dress warmly – Mass transit can shut down at anytime. It’s important to keep yourself warm in case of an emergency where you might be stuck for a long time.
Bring Water and Snacks – In case of an emergency it is always important to stay hydrated and have nutrition.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2012: What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

December 19, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
New Year’s Eve is acknowledged as a time for looking back to the past and setting new goals for the near future. It’s a time to inspire yourself to make the changes you want or need, and most importantly, following through on those changes. View the top 10 list of New Year’s Resolutions from and let Plaza College know what your New Year’s Resolutions are for 2012!
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
In recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, statistics shows that more that 50% of American vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. Make plans to meet up with friends or family for an evening.
2. Fit in Fitness
Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits that anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. Why not make this the time to start getting in shape.
3. Focus on Weight-Loss 
Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.
4. Quit Smoking  
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life! Even Allegheny County is trying to go smoke-free, and it’s taken them a few tries as well. Locally, there are a variety of free support services, hotlines and smoking cessation classes to help you kick the smoking habit.
5. Enjoy Life More  
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” has become a popular resolution in recent years. It’s an important step to a happier and healthier you! 
6. Quit Drinking
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. There are also a number of treatment-based programs, as well as support groups for families of alcoholics.
7. Get Out of Debt  
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.
8. Learn Something New  
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. 
9. Help Others  
A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. If your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to fill up our landfills.
10. Get Organized   
On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life.

Today is Free Shipping Day! Tips to Buy Wise and Ship Free

December 16, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release *** 
Free Shipping Day is know to be one of the BEST days of the year for online shopping. This year, more than 2,000 online merchants are participating! 

There are many things to look out for when purchasing your gifts online. Beware of minimum spending thresholds, free shipping on select items only or on non-sale merchandise, and hidden return shipping costs. Read the fine print and consider all of these options before heading to the free shipping bandwagon.
90 percent of consumers spend more when offered free delivery and nearly 50 percent of consumers won’t go through with their online order if they run into steep fees during the checkout process. The term for this is, “abandoned shopping carts.” It’s one of the biggest issues an e-commerce company faces, and free shipping takes that obstacle out of the equation.
Free Shipping Day may actually be bigger than Cyber Monday. “When you look at last year, Cyber Monday sales were just over $1 billion — up 16 percent from the year prior, and Free Shipping Day was $942,000 — up a whopping 61 percent,” CBS News contributor and personal finance expert Regina Lewis stated. “We’ll see. Perhaps the best indicator is that fact that FedEx, which has extensive forecasting capability, says its expecting to deliver 17 million shipments on Monday — the busiest day in the company’s 40 year history — fueled by e-commerce sales. In other words, what people order today, gets shipped Monday.”
The promotion for free shipping may not last. She explained, “Free shipping has started to be a consumer expectation. The big players, like Amazon, who have fine-tuned their distribution models, are in the best position to offer it year-round for a nominal annual fee. Other big (online retailers) offer it intermittently as a promotion. … Free shipping will be most widely-available (on Free Shipping Day), because it is still based on standard U.S. shipping rates, which the merchants are willing to absorb. Then, it’s definitely not a given and will phase out quickly. By Monday, you’re going to start to run into expedited shipping charges, because retailers aren’t going to be willing to absorb premium rates. Keep in mind, they have to pay the UPS and FedExes of the world. They’ll pass those off to you, and you’ll be boxed in if you’re trying to get something under a tree in time for Christmas morning. Better hustle!”
Go to Free Shipping to see which retailers are participating!

New Dinosaur Species Discovered in 1916?

December 14, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release *** 

A new species of horned dinosaur known as Spinops sternbergorum has been discovered in the vaults of the Natural History Museum

The remains of the herbivores, from the same family as the Triceratops, were excavated from a quarry alongside a large group of fossils in a so-called “bone bed” in Alberta, Canada in 1916.

The bones were described as “rubbish” by the Museum’s Keeper of Geology at the time, and lay unnoticed for almost 100 years before experts realized they belonged to an undescribed species.

They were rediscovered by a current group of researchers who decided to take another look at the fossils and realized that they were unlike any others known to science.

Dr. Andrew Farke, who led the research team, said: “I knew right away that these fossils were something unusual, and it was very exciting to learn about their convoluted history.
“Here we have not just one, but multiple individuals of the same species, so we’re confident that it’s not just an odd example of a previously known species.”

Mammograms Cut Risk Of Breast Cancer Death By Half

December 12, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
Women who get routine mammograms can lower their risk of dying from breast cancer by nearly half, a new Dutch study suggests.

INSERT DESCRIPTION“Our study adds further to the evidence that mammography screening unambiguously reduces breast cancer mortality,” said Dr. Suzie Otto, a senior researcher in the department of public health at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The routine screening also decreased the chances of being diagnosed with an advanced cancer, she said.

To view this study online click HERE.
Mammography screening, including the best schedule and the best age to begin, is being hotly debated in the United States and elsewhere. A great number of experts think women should start getting them at age 40. Other think women should discuss the pros and cons of the test at 40, decide on an individual basis and start screens routinely at 50. Otto’s study only looked at women aged 49 and older.

Otto traced 755 patients who died from breast cancer from 1995 to 2003 and another 3,739 control patients corresponded by age and other measures.

Among the women with breast cancer, nearly 30 percent of tumors were found at screening and about 34 percent between screens. Nearly 36 percent of these women had never had a mammogram.
Advanced tumors were found in about 30 percent of the patients who had never been screened but in just over 5 percent of those who had mammograms.

Women who experienced screening reduced their risk of dying from breast cancer by 49 percent. Women aged 70 to 75 had the greatest risk reduction, reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer by 84 percent. The risk reduction in younger women, aged 50 to 69, was smaller, at 39 percent, but still considered substantial.

The greater risk reduction in women aged 70 to 75, Otto said, is probably a result of the long-term good effects of screening participation in the earlier target age group, 50 to 69, before the upper age limit for screening was extended in the Netherlands from 69 to 75.

The study findings “add to the body of evidence supporting the fact that mammography matters in improving detection and survival,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “This study focuses on survival.”

The study, however, has some limitations, Bernik noted. It’s not clear, for instance, whether the women who died of cancer got less aggressive treatment or refused treatment. That could have affected survival, of course.

Mammography does lead to “overtreatment” in some cases, Bernik acknowledged. Some cancers that are found on mammography may not have proven to be an issue in a woman’s lifetime. “But there is no way to figure out which cancers will be a problem or not,” she said.

70 Years Later, Pearl Harbor Survivor Tells of Attack

December 9, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
89-Year-Old William Muehleib will visit the place where 70 years ago the sound of Japanese bombs exploding awoke him.
William is one of about 120 survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed 2,400 Americans, sunk 12 ships and destroyed 188 aircraft’s. These heroic survivors returned to the Hawaiian island of Oahu for its 70th anniversary.
Pearl HarborThere is no exact figure on living survivors, but the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. has 2,700 registered members, said Muehleib, the group’s president. The association estimates that there are between 7,000 and 8,000 who are still living, Muehleib stated.
As an 18-year-old, Muehleib was sent to Hawaii’s Hickam Field, adjacent to Pearl Harbor, as a member of the Army Air Corps to begin aircraft mechanics school.
In November 1941, he and 250 other soldiers were told that instead of classes, they would be forming a ground force battalion and be on 24-hour patrol at the airfield. But on Dec. 5, the men were told they would no longer be on patrol and instead would be going back to school.
Two days later, while sleeping under tents, he and his fellow soldiers were awakened by the sounds of airplanes and explosions.
“I could see underneath the tent flaps Japanese planes dropping bombs,” he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
After the initial shock, the soldiers fired with their personal weapons as they awaited trucks to take them to their duty stations, Muehleib said. When the trucks came, they piled in and rode over the runways as bombs exploded around them and bullets from Japanese aircraft rained down. They eventually arrived at their gun stations and fought back. 
In the weeks following the attack, there were moments of joy, such as when he came across a friend who had survived; and others of extreme sadness, when he heard of friends who perished, Muehleib said.
Today, returning to the site of the attacks can be difficult, but also heartening.
“It’s touching. You get choked up sometimes,” he said. “It brings into focus the experience you had that day.”
Many of the survivors come to recall the moment of the attack with one another, not to seek acknowledgment of their efforts. “It is something that happened to us; it was a bonding experience,” he said. “We aren’t looking for accolades or special recognition.”
To many, each anniversary takes on greater importance, as the window to honor those who survived is rapidly closing. Many survivors, who are now in their 80s and 90s, do not worry about being forgotten, Muehleib said.  
With the substantial investment the federal government has made in commemorating the attacks, including a sprawling new $56-million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, what happened on Dec. 7, 1941, will not be forgotten.
“We have no fear of it slowly sliding into oblivion” 

Apple Store Coming to Grand Central Station: Opening Dec. 9 2011

December 7, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
Will you be waiting in line for the opening of the Apple store in Grand Central Station? Apple is set to open a highly anticipated New York store in the historic Grand Central Terminal at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9th 2011. The opening of this location is just in time for the holidays!
Apple's Grand Central Terminal location, still under construction.The 23,000 square foot location is one of Apple’s largest, located in the heart of the historic terminal in Grand Central. Apple reportedly signed a 10-year lease with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for the space, once occupied by a restaurant.
The industry leader is sure to get lots of foot-traffic with some 750,000 people passing through Grand Central each day and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays. 
Demographics listed on Grand Central Station’s website show that an average 7,500 people an hour pass the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt Avenue, making it one of the busiest intersections in the city. Roughly 50 percent of its commuters’ household incomes are over $100,000, and 20 percent are over $200,000. Office workers in the neighborhood earn a combined $11.3 billion a year.
Currently, the classic architecture of Grand Central is covered by a black curtain, hiding Apple’s setup. The store located on the northeast balcony is not squared off like other locations, but will be open to the traveling public.
For this reason, hours will flow with the terminal’s hours of operation, open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They’ll also be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, for you last minute shoppers!
According to the New York Post, Apple will lease the space for about $800,000 the first year and is the only retailer among 100 or so in MTA’s Grand Central Terminal not required to make revenue-sharing payments to the landlord.
However, Apple has taken on the expense of the elevators and reportedly gave previous occupant Metrazur restaurant $5 million to vacate early.

Complete the Fall Semester Successfully Without Distractions

December 5, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
With the holiday season in full bloom, it’s easy to get distracted. Keep these three tips in the back of your head to complete your fall semester successfully, and enjoy the holiday season at the same time!
Concentrate on what’s important: it is very easy to get overwhelmed during the holiday season. Concentrate on what really has to get done, and prioritize accordingly. It would be great to go holiday shopping after class, especially with that friends and family sale going on- but with finals coming up it would be more productive to study and save the shopping for later! Complete what has to get done now, and then reward yourself with fun activities, like taking a trip to see the infamous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! 
Reflect on the good things: Think back on all the good things you have accomplished this year. Take the time to congratulate yourself for these successes, whether they are financial, educational, personal, etc. Reward yourself for prioritizing successfully. 
Stay focused: classes are almost over! You didn’t work so hard all semester to get caught up in the holiday season and forget to complete assignments or study for the big exam. Finish out the semester strong, and then enjoy everything there is to enjoy about the holidays! Schedule a set time to study and stick to it! 
Happy Holidays!

History and Facts about the Holland Tunnel

December 2, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
About 100 years ago in 1920, the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission adopted funds and began construction on what was then referred to as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel
Seven years later on November 13, 1927, what is today known as the Holland Tunnel (named as a tribute to its first Chief engineer, Clifford M. Holland) operated under the guise of the two state commissions until the Port Authority of NY & NJ took over operations in April of 1930. 
The first Hudson River vehicular crossing connects Canal Street in Manhattan with 12th and 14th Streets in Jersey City, NJ, and is considered “an outstanding engineering achievement,” ( The tunnel runs 8,558 feet from portal to portal on the North tube, and 8,371 feet on the South tube at a height of 12 feet, 6 inches tall.
One of the most significant challenges all three chief engineers faced was how to ventilate the 1.6 mile long tunnel. “With the dawn of the automobile age, it was imperative to find a way to remove potentially dangerous automobile fumes,” ( 
The third chief engineer, Ole Singstad, found a solution. His idea was to design a circular tunnel with an automatic ventilation system where four ventilation buildings, two on each side of the Hudson River would house 84 immense fans that would provide a change of air every 90 seconds, keeping air quality well within established safety limits. 
This innovation by Singstad made the Holland Tunnel the first mechanically ventilated underwater vehicular tunnel in the world. “The methods used to design and build it still form the basis for the construction of many underwater vehicular tunnels throughout the world,” ( 
The Holland Tunnel was designated a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil and Mechanical Engineers in 1984 because of its valuable contribution to tunnel design and construction. Furthermore, in 1993 it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior. 
The Holland Tunnel has 9 toll lanes and has 3.1 million ceiling tiles and 2.9 million wall tiles! The maximum depth from mean high water to roadway is 93 feet, 5 inches. For more information, fun facts and history of the Holland Tunnel, click HERE.

The Famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Tonight at 7pm!

November 30, 2011
Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
Tonight, Wednesday November 30, 2011, is the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in New York City! 
Midtown Manhattan will be on lockdown as President Obama, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Carole King and several other artists arrive in town for the famous tree lighting program. 
Hundreds of thousands of people attend the lighting ceremony of the famed Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center each year, and millions tune in to NBC to view the live broadcast of performances and lighting on TV. The programming begins at 7:00pm, with the actual lighting to take place around 9:00pm. 
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in NYC. The tree, traditionally a Norway Spruce, is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. The star is 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds. The Swarovski star has topped the famous Rockefeller Center tree since 2004. 
This year the Norway Spruce is 74-feet tall and comes to the big city from Miffinville, Pennsylvania. 
The tallest Christmas tree recorded at Rockefeller Center was a 100-foot Spruce in 1999. In 2006, A Norway Spruce from Ridgefield, Connecticut stood at 88-feet tall for the holiday season. Last season’s tree came from Mahopac, New York and reached 74-feet tall.

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